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adventure

Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Jul 24 // Drew Stuart
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is, once boiled down, a sci-fi adventure. The story is set in the 28th century, where humanity has created a gigantic metropolis in space known as Alpha. Over hundreds of years, aliens from all over the galaxy have come there to thrive and prosper, creating a cornucopia of cultures that mingle with each other every day. Alpha is home to everyone, and the heart of Valerian is exploring this strange world with our main characters, the titular Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevigne). The problem with Valerian is how they explore it. The plot has our two agents racing against time to stop an ever-expanding radiation zone at Alpha's core, but that sense of urgency is seldom felt in the actual plot. There are chases, sure, but they have no tension. There's a mystery, but if you're paying attention even slightly, you'll know exactly where the story is going after 20 minutes. The driving point of the plot is supposed to be mystery, but it completely deflates once the movie starts rolling. The best aspect of Valerian is the world, and I'm sure that sentiment will be shared amongst anyone who sees this movie, whether they thought it was good or bad. There's a scene early on that depicts the genesis and growth of Alpha, and is one of my favorite intros of 2017. It's humorous and magical, friendly and dazzling. The various creatures and aliens on Alpha are diverse and interesting, taking that nuanced world-building from Star Wars and executing it with style. Yet, that's about all that Valerian seems to get right. Nearly every other aspect is fundamentally flawed, and I wish that were an exaggeration. Take our leading actors for example. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne have both given their worst performances in their careers in Valerian. No, I'm not exaggerating. DeHaan is in no way a believable federal agent, and his gruff mumbling throughout the film makes the whole thing feel like a fan-film. He's painted as a ladies man at the beginning of Valerian and I nearly burst out laughing when Delevigne referred to him as a 'lady killer'. It's like pointing to a turd and calling it Toblerone; good for a laugh, but I'll be damned if you try and get me to swallow it. I just couldn't stomach the blatant wish-fulfillment when the lead is far from being suave or charismatic in the slightest. Delevigne has never actually given a good performance on film before, but in Valerian her acting stands out as particularly cardboard-esque. Seriously, look at any of these images I have in this review and behold the only face she makes on camera. What makes these performances even worse is that Valerian and Laureline are supposed to be attracted to each other, and they seem anything but. Their interactions are stiff and stale, and even the dialogue they share is poorly written. Kids might be able to get behind these characters, but if you have a fully developed brain then you're in for a sore experience. As I mentioned earlier, the plot is also all over the place. It's flimsy and dull, failing to interest the viewer in the central mystery presented likely due to how obvious the outcome is. The film opens by almost completely explaining the events that are 'revealed' later on at the climax of Valerian, and yet pretends like the audience didn't see what happened. This, combined with some clumsy foreshadowing and telegraphing by the villain spell out the plot for the rest of the film, leaving little to enjoy besides the beautifully designed world. And, call me crazy, but Valerian seems to know this, considering that it takes significant breaks from the plot for trivial side-stories. There's a point midway through where the film drops the little momentum it had to rescue Laureline from some bumbling space creatures. This sequence is pretty to look at, and has moments of fun sprinkled here and there, but serves no purpose whatsoever. In the end, this section of the movie only makes it more painful once our heroes return to the story at hand. Look, I don't hate Valerian. It's a beautiful film, with amazing CG and a set-piece or two that are fun on the surface level. The world it's set in is captivating and unique, something that is so rare today in Hollywood. But no movie has ever become great just by looking good; the plot, the dialogue, the characters need to be written well so the films stunning display can create synergy between the narrative and the visuals. This is how a great sci-fi adventure film is made, and it's something that Besson has completely forgotten how to do with Valerian. Visuals are in service to the writing, and Besson put the cart in front of the horse on this one. The image of Alpha floating in space, filled with interesting creatures and civilizations is incredible, but with a couple of boring humans taking up most of the runtime, you'd be better off watching the trailer and moving on.
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Such a well polished turd.
Luc Besson may not be a household name, but ask any fan of film who he is and you’ll be swept into a drawn-out lauding of his movies. Besson directed both The Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional, both of which foun...

Review: Okja

Jun 28 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221603:43630:0[/embed] OkjaDirector: Bong Joon-hoRating: N/ARelease Date: June 28, 2017 (Netflix, limited theatrical)Country: South Korea/United States Okja opens with a press conference as preface. CEO Lucy Mirando announces the creation of special mutant super pigs made to address the world's food shortages revamp its brand. She's played by Tilda Swinton, who looks and acts like a character in a Christopher Guest movie. Those bangs, those braces, and later, that twitchy, insecure overbite. The initial super pigs have been given to farmers around the globe, and in 10 years the best one will be picked to publicly launch a line of tasty, savory mutant food products. Okja, the only pig we follow, was raised in the mountains of Korea by Mija and her grandfather (Byun Hee-Bong). The film lingers with Mija and Okja a while as they spend afternoons in the forests eating persimmons in sun and swimming by a waterfall. Bong builds the kinship between his lead and his digital warm-cuddly; there's a shorthand for 10 loving years in 10 or so lackadaisical minutes. The lush mountaintop idyll also works as a counterpoint to the madness that follows--colors darken down below as our characters descend. Okja is taken away, and the movie becomes a series of pursuits. A daring chase through the streets of Seoul is one of the highlights of the film. In America, Okja goes through a series of upsetting and disturbing events that reveal the ugly side of Mirando's shiny new product. A little past the midway point of Okja, I can see some people souring on the movie because of what happens in the plot. Rather than make a family film for all ages, Bong's story gets much darker than the initial fun in the sun would suggest. (More Babe: Pig in the City than Babe.) This darkness follows logically and diegetically, however, and it's the point. This mutant movie, among other things, is an indictment of factory farming and corporate culture. It's why Mija just wants to bring Okja back up to the mountain, above all of those concerns. Like any CG creature, Okja looks better in some scenes and worse than others. When it works, she's got the expressiveness of an actual animal, with mannerisms less like a pig and more like a lumbering puppy/hippo. (She even poops like a hippo. Okja is the sort of movie in which the bowel movements of an animal figure into the plot. Glorious.) Something about Okja's eyes and snout, and maybe a certain floppiness or articulation of her ears, communicate a fair amount of emotion. When Mija is there to react, she complements and enhances the CG performance. Other times, Okja is clearly just a big digital thing dropped into a shot. I was generally able to stay with the world of the movie even when the CG was obvious. The world of Okja is messy and cartoony, and the CG is never too bad to be totally distracting from everything else that's going on. And there's a lot going on. Mija is an immutable moral center in the movie, and though she's a newcomer, Ahn is good as a determined lead. The supporting characters are varying levels of quirky, and many get to play off Ahn as the straightwoman. Paul Dano is very Paul Dano as Jay, the leader of an Animal Liberation Front group. His misfit band of eco-terrorists squabble over the carbon footprint of cherry tomatoes and suckle on asparagus spears. Bong and co-writer Jon Ronson mock the ideological minutiae of some ALF characters (extremism is inherently funny), but they're careful not to target the core humanity of their beliefs. Jay and his band are goofy, but they're also the good guys. The most overblown performance is surprisingly not Tilda Swinton but Jake Gyllenhaal. He plays Dr. Johnny Wilcox, a nasally TV wildlife personality. Off-camera, he's like an evil Ned Flanders by way of bizarro Ace Ventura and Rip Taylor; a sadistic narcissist who hides his ugly-streak under layers of gee willikers and aww shucks. When the camera is on Dr. Johnny, his persona changes. His voice lowers and slows and he speaks from the diaphragm rather than the nose. The highs and lows of Gyllenhaal's performance may best the representation of Okja's highs and lows. The man contains multitudes, some hilarious and some terrifying. (Jaeil Jung's score also contains multitudes: a little bit of folk, a little bit of traditional orchestral music, and there's also something for the oompah band fans out there.) If the tone shifts and genre-bending don't push away some viewers, I sense that Bong's preachiness might do the trick. Okja isn't particularly subtle about its stance on GMOs and the food business; the subtlest the film gets is a brief and passing implication that Okja is such a healthy and hearty mutant super pig because she is a free-range mutant super pig. Yet subtlety might be unnecessary here, and the same goes for genre and tone conventions. Netflix gave Bong final cut and full creative control over Okja. The result is free-range Bong Joon-Ho, which is, admittedly, an acquired taste, but it's linked to the love people have for their favorite childhood pet. That's a familiar, perennial flavor--narrative comfort food. As Lucy Mirando tells us at the start of Okja, the most important thing is that the mutant super pig tastes f**king good. And it does. Weird but good, sure, but good mainly because it is so weird.
Review: Okja photo
That'll do, mutant super pig, that'll do
Bong Joon-Ho's Okja is a chimera of genre and tone. It's a lovable mutant like its titular super pig--the best super pig, we're told, the superlative like something out of Charlotte's Web. Which makes sense. As a director, Bo...

Joe Manganiello DnD photo
Joe Manganiello DnD

Joe Manganiello wants to make a Dungeons and Dragons movie, has co-written script


Roll for initiative
Apr 10
// Hubert Vigilla
Dungeons & Dragons has plenty of high-profile devotees, from Stephen Colbert to Vin Diesel to Junot Diaz. You can add Joe Manganiello to the list. He's been open about his geekdom before, and recently played D&D at Ne...
Uncharted movie photo
Uncharted movie

Joe Carnahan has finished Uncharted script, movie may finally get made, honest


Shawn Levy is still on board to direct
Jan 09
// Hubert Vigilla
Sony has been trying and trying and trying to make an Uncharted movie for years. Now in 2017, they may actually start making the movie. Finally. Really. Well, maybe. We'll see if Shawn Levy sticks around to direct. Joe Carnahan has finished the screenplay for the film, and he posted about it on his Instagram account:

Mononoke back in theaters photo
20th anniversary, 76th birthday
Hayao Miyazaki (who is no longer retired from filmmaking) turns 76 years old on January 5th. His film Princess Mononoke turns 20 years old in 2017. To celebrate these two landmark occasions, GKIDS and Fathom Events are bringi...

Assassin's Creed clip photo
Assassin's Creed clip

New Assassin's Creed clip features a carriage chase, horses, swashbuckling


Giddyup
Dec 04
// Hubert Vigilla
December 21st is fast approaching, which means the marketing for the Assassin's Creed film is in full effect. In the last week we've seen a clip featuring the souped-up Animus as well as the launch of an Assassin's Creed VR e...

Deadpool director Tim Miller now working on the Sonic the Hedgehog movie

Oct 31 // Hubert Vigilla
If this doesn't get trapped in development hell, it will be Fowler's directorial debut. Aside from his work on animated shorts, Fowler's most notable credit is part of animation research and development for Spike Jonze's 2009 adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. We reported on the live-action/CG Sonic the Hedgehog movie earlier this year. As it stands, the movie is still aiming for a 2018 release. What do you think about a Sonic film with this creative team? Is there someone else who should be at the helm? Are your dreams now tainted by this devilishy sexy image? Let us know in the comments. [via THR/Heat Vision]
Sonic the Hedgehog movie photo
Miller on as executive producer
Tim Miller recently left the sequel to Deadpool over creative differences with Ryan Reynolds, which included clashes over tone and the casting of Cable. As Deadpool 2 looks for a new director, Miller has set his sights on a n...

Lee, Stan Lee photo
Lee, Stan Lee

Fox making James Bond-style action movie about comics legend Stan Lee


Excelsior, not stirred
Sep 14
// Hubert Vigilla
Fox has acquired the life rights of Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee. The studio is planning to make a fictionalized period action-adventure film about Lee's life in the style of a Roger Moore James Bond film and Kingsman: The S...
Stranger Things photo
Stranger Things

First trailer for Netflix's Stranger Things


Like old school Spielberg made a TV show
Jun 09
// Matthew Razak
When J.J. Abrams delivered Super 8 to us I reveled in its unabashed homage of classic Spielberg adventure films. I kind of wondered why it hadn't kicked off a bit of a renaissance of the 1980s supernatural film, but alas...
Indiana Jones photo
No ticket
We've heard rumblings, but no full confirmation, of a new Indiana Jones movie since Disney bought out Lucasfilms, but it's been very slow going and after the oddness that was Crystal Skull it wasn't really clear if ...

Adventure Time photo
Adventure Time

You should be watching the mini-series Adventure Time: Stakes


Cartoon Network raises the stakes
Nov 20
// John-Charles Holmes
Last year, Cartoon Network took home audiences by surprise with their first mini-series, Over the Garden Wall. The ten episode event delighted critics and fans with a short form original story, and this year Cartoon Network t...
Adventure Time photo
Adventure Time

Adventure Time news-- new season, miniseries, and a movie?


Come on, grab your friends
Oct 16
// John-Charles Holmes
Can you believe Adventure Time has been runnig for over half a decade now? It's true! Cartoon Network's modern flagship show will be entering its seventh season starting November 7th at 6 PM EST on the channel, kicking thi...

How to Do It BETTER: Howard the Duck

Jun 22 // Sean Walsh
1. Send Howard to Earth When we last saw him, our stalwart protagonist (who would be voiced once again by Seth Green) was hanging out in Knowhere with Benecio del Toro's Collector and Cosmo the Space Dog. That's all well and good, but Guardians really has captured the market on Marvel's space-y real estate, and with Captain Marvel's Kree background, we'll assuredly get more space stuff there. Howard would be swallowed up surrounded by other extra-terrestrial characters and locales. So, naturally, we need Howard "trapped in a world he never made." That world, of course, is Earth. A surly, walking, talking duck on a planet of talking mammals is full of potential humor.  2. No Origins, Please Why spend two and a half hours dealing with where he came from when you can tell a wacky story (more on that below) out of the gate? Just do like The Incredible Hulk did and get that all out of the way in the opening credits. Even his trip to Earth can be told during the opening titles. Hell, Guardians 2 could deal with that. The film should start like a film noir, with Howard staring out the window of his crappy private eye's office drinking a glass of scotch, doing his best Jon Hamm from Mad Men. If you have to do an origin, have him narrate it to the audience during this opening scene. 3. Cast the Right Redhead If we're going to go the private duck (ha!) noir direction, you need a dame. In walks Beverly Switzler, played by gorgeous redhead Jane Levy (Suburgatory, the Evil Dead remake). Levy is funny, sharp as a tack, and certainly worthy of the "of all the run-down private eye offices in New York, she had to walk into mine" treatment. We'll remove the 'nude' from 'nude model' on her resume, but make her pretty enough for Howard to recognize and even lust after. You see, Beverly's photographer boyfriend Chuck has gone missing down in Florida and she needs help finding him. But why come to Howard the Duck all the way in New York? Well, you see, there are some weird circumstances to his disappearance. Something about a swamp, a monster...something a normal private eye wouldn't take seriously. Howard So you came to the one PI in New York City that's a talking duck? Beverly nods. Beverly Yeah, exactly.  Howard looks down at his feet. Howard (exasperated) Waugh... 4. Give Them Their Very Own Groot! So, Beverly pays Howard's fees and the two set a course for Florida, flying first class (jokes abound). They arrive in Florida, drive out to the small, backwoods town where Beverly's boyfriend was last seen and Howard does his detective thing. Naturally, it is an uphill battle as he is a talking duck in a small swamp town. But eventually, he gets a lead and they make their way to the swamp where Chuck vanished. Of course, not before an old man warns them both of the swamp monster that protects his territory. Crazy Old Man It's some sort of...thing...that walks like...like a man! Howard rolls his eyes. Howard Like, a Man-Thing? The old man eagerly nods, his eyes wide. Crazy Old Man Just like a Man-Thing! Disregarding the old coot, the two make their way to the swamp. It isn't long before they come upon the Man-Thing in all his mossy glory. Howard quacks in fear and pulls out his pistol, which causes the creature to reach out for him. Beverly, she of the steel nerves, puts herself between them. The creature isn't there to hurt them, she tells Howard. Its simply there to protect something. She explains to the Man-Thing that they are looking for her boyfriend, Chuck. The creature, it seems, understands her, and leads them further into the swamp. Think Groot, just without the whole "I am Groot" thing. Also, if you're wondering what the connection is betwixt our feathered friend and a giant plant golem is? Well, fun fact: Howard the Duck first appeared in issue #19 of Man-Thing's original comic, Adventure Into Fear, and the two have crossed paths on numerous occasions. It seems only right to bring them together for the first time on the big screen. 5. Expand the Universe(s) Now, I'm sure Dr. Strange is going to make the MCU a little bigger, but if there's one thing that Marvel has in spades (besides Spider-People, line-wide crossover events, and D-list villains), it's alternate realities. Deep in the heart of Man-Thing's swamp lies the Nexus of All Realities. We don't know what it's called yet, of course, but that's what it is. Before they discuss what it is, something comes out through the other side. Something weird. A vampire ninja, maybe. Or a cybernetically-animated superhero corpse (a la Deathlok, specifically from the Uncanny X-Force arc full of Deathlok heroes). Man-Thing quickly dispatches of the visitor with its massive strength and corrosive touch. Beverly Does that...happen a lot? The Man-Thing nods. It would seem, Beverly deduces, that Chuck fell into the Nexus. Howard informs her that he is not getting paid enough and that his own reality is weird enough. Beverly offers to triple her fee and our hero gracefully accepts. Howard, Beverly, and their new friend Man-Thing step through. Things get...weird from here. 6. Give Them a Familiar Bad Guy in a New Context The trio of unsuspecting heroes find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a war zone. A paltry resistance is crushed by giant war machines, all of which are marked with the HYDRA insignia. HYDRA troops surround our heroes. Howard H-hail HYDRA? A HYDRA trooper tazes him into unconsciousness. When Howard awakens, he and Beverly are in a high-tech prison cell. Man-Thing is gone, but who should be locked in the cell next to theirs but Chuck (played by someone hunky and relatively popular, like Robbie Amell or the Teen Wolf guy)! Reunited at last, but under fairly dismal circumstances. A guard comes to take them away. But not just any guard. It's Ward from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! That son of a gun. He has come to take Howard to HYDRA's labs to be dissected. It is at this point, upon the cell being opened, that Howard is finally able to display one of his greatest talents: Quack-Fu. He quickly and easily dispatches Ward and frees Chuck. Beverly is clearly impressed by his martial arts prowess but Howard shrugs it off, the consummate cool cucumber. He wants to escape, but Beverly insists they can't leave Man-Thing behind. Howard goes to object, but she points out that it's their ticket home. Guessing that the monster is in the laboratory, the three make their way there. Along the way Chuck tells them about the reality they're in. Back in the 40's, the Red Skull successfully defeated Captain America, and using the power of the Tesseract, took over the world. There are no heroes (even the Asgardians had fallen to the might of the Tesseract) and aside from pockets of resistance like the one we saw upon their arrival in this reality, HYDRA is the world of the day. But Red Skull is not in charge anymore, no sir, his most trusted adviser, Arnim Zola (the ineffable Toby Jones), betrayed him, killed him, and took control of HYDRA and subsequently the world. Now, obviously this is to get around the Red Skull, Cap, and the rest. But that's not to say that Ward would be the only cameo, no sir. 7. Make It a Great Escape Their suspicions are correct: Man-Thing is on the cutting table. The two scientists operating on him? Why, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, also from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In this reality, they, like Ward, have German accents as a result of HYDRA's global control. The trio watch them bicker briefly before taking them out and freeing the Man-Thing. Unfortunately, Simmons triggers an alarm before Beverly can knock her out. A whole squad of HYDRA goons storms the lab and it looks like our heroes are done for. But then the Calvary arrives, literally. The wall explodes and The Resistance has arrived, led by none other than Phil Coulson himself. With him are Melinda May (possibly having become Deathlok herself), Antoine Triplett, Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie, Inhuman Daisy Johnson (Quake, if you're nasty), and her father Cal, along with a whole squad of rag-tag resistance members. Howard Who are you? Coulson We're S.H.I.E.L.D. Howard What's that stand for? Coulson Been a little busy trying to liberate the world from HYDRA, haven't had a lot of time to think up acronyms. With Daisy's abilities, Howard's Quack-Fu, Man-Thing's brute strength, and Coulson's leadership, they make short work of the HYDRA forces they come up against. But it isn't long before they come up against the big man himself, Zola, and his number two: an unscarred Crossbones (total badass Frank Grillo). Zola has taken on his familiar form in the comics, a face on a monitor on a robot body. Zola and Coulson exchange words and a big climatic fight ensues. In the fracas, Crossbones is scarred by Man-Thing but left alive (mirroring his fate in Cap 2), Howard very nearly sacrifices himself to save Chuck and Beverly from Zola, and finally, Zola is defeated. However, the war against HYDRA isn't over. This was just one of Zola's many bodies and as a digital consciousness ("cut off one head" and all that), he's already up and at them elsewhere. The only way to truly defeat him is to find his central consciousness and destroy it. On the bright side, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a Helicarrier now. Coulson offers Howard, Chuck, and Beverly spots in S.H.I.E.L.D. Howard and Beverly decline, but Chuck accepts. Beverly pleads with him to change his mind, but Chuck says he found his calling. They share one last kiss and everyone says their goodbyes. Man-Thing teleports Howard and Beverly to that reality's swamp and they go through the Nexus. Howard Wait...you could teleport this whole time? Man-Thing shrugs its shoulders. Howard (frustrated) WAUGH! 8. Give It A Happy Ending Howard, Bev, and Man-Thing are back home. Howard and Beverly bid farewell to their jolly green friend and make their way back to civilization. Beverly is obviously still very broken up about Chuck. Howard tries to find the words to comfort her, but gives up and takes a different route. Howard Hey, Bev? Beverly (sniffles) Yes, Howard? Howard You wanna grab a drink at that bar we stopped at earlier? Beverly The one you almost got murdered in? Howard shrugs. Howard After almost getting turned into roast duck by a Nazi robot with a TV for a face, a couple'a bikers don't seem so scary in retrospect. Beverly thinks about it. Beverly You know what, Howard? That sounds really nice. My treat. She reaches out a hand as they walk. Howard stares at it for a moment and then takes it in his. He looks at the screen and smiles. Howard (happily) Waugh. 9. Get the Tone Right We're talking about a sarcastic, angry duck-man here. If anything, Howard the Duck should be a dark comedy first, with action and adventure thrown in to give the audience what they want. People can accept a super-soldier, tech genius, and hunky Norse god. A talking duck detective is going to have it a little harder. There's all sorts of humor and pathos to be found in Howard's trials and tribulations, and sticking him in the middle of a warzone is sure to have plenty of comedic opportunities. 10. Get the Right Director Obviously, James Gunn would be my first choice but he'll probably have a pretty full dance card by the time Avengers: Infinity War Part II has come and gone. It would be important to have somebody fully capable of big, over-the-top actions scenes, humor, and noir. Honestly, there's only one name on my least: the unlawfully handsome Robert Rodriguez. He has pretty stellar range and experience with the aforementioned areas between films like Planet Terror, Machete, and Sin City. Sure, next to Edgar Wright he is my favorite director, but there are plenty of good reasons for that. 11. Make the Mid and Post-Credits Scenes Matter  Sure, this is a Howard the Duck movie, but it can still lend itself to good world-building. I think it's more or less universally agreed that Iron Man 2 is one of the weakest links in the Cinematic Universe's chain (I, myself, liked it just fine), but I'll be damned if people didn't lose their minds when they saw Mjölnir in the desert. For the mid-credits scene, show us the result of Howard and Bev returning the the bar. Have them both looking exhausted with their beers, then slowly pull away to reveal a bar-full of unconscious bikers. That's Quack-Fu, baby. Then, after the credits? Maybe return to the other reality. Arnim Zola blinks to life in a new body, as predicted. He reflects to himself that maybe his time on Earth has come to an end and activates a device. A wormhole opens. Zola smiles. Arnim Zola Next stop: Dimension-Z. He enters it and the wormhole closes behind him. Cut to black. Dimension-Z is a world dominated by Zola in Rick Remender's Captain America, where Steve Rogers ends up in for over a decade. Of course, Rogers won't be Cap anymore by the time Howard the Duck rolls around, but there's no reason we can't adapt the storyline to accommodate for Buck Barnes, the new Captain America (with an 11-movie contract, it's pretty obvious he won't be the Winter Soldier forever). It's a fun dystopian story full of action, adventure, and mad science. We certainly haven't seen anything like that yet from Marvel Studios! Just imagine: Captain America: Escape From Dimension Z! 12. Can't Forget the Stan Lee Cameo! Since Stan the Man is immortal, obviously he will make a cameo complete with requisite one-liner. Maybe as a drunk biker in the first bar scene or the guy in the cell on the other side of Howard and Beverly's! I can see it now: Howard looks over at the cell on the other side of his. An OLD MAN with a black eye sits on the prison cot. Howard What happened to you? A grin washes over the man's face. Old Man You should see the other guy! So, there you have it. That's how you make a Howard the Duck movie. Lots of laughs, lots of surly sarcasm, lots of action, a liberal dose of easter eggs (Howard: Yeah, we're on an adventure, alright...an Adventure Into Fear!), and Marvel makes another few hundred million. Aside from Howard's CG, there's not a whole lot in the way of budgetary drains, especially working largely with television actors. Despite his decades of relative obscurity, people are already aware of Howard courtesy of Guardians, which is a big step in the right direction. In the hands of a capable director like Rodriguez, with a cast consisting of Green, Levy, and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and Kyle Maclachlan, that beautiful son of a gun), Howard the Duck could be Marvel's next Guardians.  Did I just write the pitch for the first new movie of Phase Five? Am I way off base? Think your Howard the Duck idea is better than mine? Sound of in the comments.
HTDIB: Howard the Duck photo
WAUGH!
[How To Do It BETTER takes a look at films that already exist that could use the tender love and care only a reboot can bring. Some were good, some were...not. Either way, Flixist takes an in-depth look at how to make it bett...

Indiana Jones 5 photo
Why did it have to be sequels?
When Disney bought LucasFilm pretty much everyone got excited about Star Wars, but they picked up another franchise that was in series need of saving: Indiana Jones. We all remember where we left that one, right? Space aliens...

Kumiko Trailer photo
Kumiko Trailer

First trailer for Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter


Dec 19
// Nick Valdez
After missing my chance to see it during SXSW earlier this year, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter has been on my most anticipated list for quite some time. Based on the urban legend of a girl who mistook the movie Fargo for a tru...
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Flix for Short: Manly


By Adventure Time writer Jesse Moynihan
Sep 03
// Liz Rugg
Adventure Time writer and storyboard artist Jesse Moynihan teamed up with his brother Justin Moynihan to create this awesome Cartoon Hangover short film; Manly. In the short we meet Manly, the daughter of the emperor god of ...
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New trailer for Norwegian adventure movie Ragnarok


Jun 20
// Liz Rugg
Ragnarok is the story of archeologist Sigurd Svenden, a man who has always been enthralled with the Oseberg Viking ship, which contains a mysterious engraving in runes that says "Man knows little." When one of his archeology...
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Rumor: Indian Jones could go the way of Bond


Let the eternal casting debates begin
Mar 28
// Matthew Razak
Here's an interesting prospect: Indiana Jones going on forever because Harrison Ford isn't the only man who plays him. Latino Review has gotten word that this might be the next step for the franchise as the window for Ford to...
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Peter Jackson still intent on making Tintin 2


Dec 11
// Matthew Razak
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn was everything Indian Jones and the Crystal Skull should have been. An action-packed throwback to adventure movies, full of fun and old school daring. The fact tha...
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Check out these awesome Mondo Pacific Rim posters


Jul 10
// Liz Rugg
Earlier this morning Entertainment Weekly debuted these awesome posters via Mondo for Guillermo del Toro's forthcoming monster-robot action movie Pacific Rim. There's four different posters by three different artists. The bla...
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Pacific Rim featurette shows off lots of robots, action


May 31
// Liz Rugg
As if you needed any more of a reason to be excited to see Guillermo del Toro's upcoming Summer action movie Pacific Rim, in this new behind the scenes featurette, the director talks about some of the crazy set design that w...
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Jonathan Rhys Meyers in talks for Star Wars: Episode VII?


May 21
// Hubert Vigilla
So far the actors who'll likely be in Star Wars: Episode VII are Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, all of whom would reprise their roles from the original trilogy. They're still in negotiations, as far as anyone ...
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Peter Jackson's Hobbit back in production for pick ups


The cast and crew have reuinited for a few more weeks of shooting
May 20
// Hubert Vigilla
It's been a little while since we last heard about the next two Hobbit movies, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again. Even though I had some issues with The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey (Matt, like the majority of...
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Paul Verhoeven wants to direct The Legend of Conan


May 20
// Logan Otremba
Arnold Schwarzenegger is 65 years old and Conan the Barbarian came out about 31 years ago. Schwarzenegger is also planning to reprise his role from the 1982 film. The Legend of Conan project currently has no director in mind,...

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

May 15 // Nathan Hardisty
Star Trek Into DarknessDirector: J.J Abrams Release Date: May 9, 2013 (UK); May 15, 2013 (US IMAX), May 16, 2013 (US non-IMAX)Rating: 12A (UK), PG-13 (US) [embed]215165:39838:0[/embed] Into Darkness follows the next chapter of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) of the Starship Enterprise. From the very beginning, Kirk's leadership is questioned and ripped open by some dramatic events. What happens, alongside all this, is an act of terrorism in London which plunges the entire Federation into alert and into full scale manhunt mode. Kirk is sent, off the record, to track down the man behind the attacks, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), and is soon thrown into inter-galactic political tensions, alien threats and sciency-wiency laser battles. Kirk must destroy the near unstoppable Harrison and uncover the darker truth underneath Starfleet Command. The plot honestly borrows quite heavily from the likes of The Avengers and The Dark Knight, with most of it revolving around the capture of a dangerous figure and the truth behind the destruction he brings to the world. The film decides to go into full-scale Empire Strikes Back-mode and has character conflicts, reversed relationships, action pieces full of genuinely terrifying sequences and some final beats that reveal the true emotional depth in Abrams' sci-fi tinged fingertips. The plot and general thrust of the film is simplistic, often predictable at times, and yet the evolution of the characters and enthralling pace just keeps you still second-guessing every single moment of this sugary roller-coaster ride. That's not to say the film is completely obsessed with superficial, fizzy detail. The lens flares, clean white atmosphere of the Enterprise and set design all create this gorgeous and often breathtaking scenery that holds a delicious place for Into Darkness to play out. Abrams' meshing of physical sets with digital artistry fuels more confidence that he has complete handle over what makes modern science-fiction truly buzz with excitement, injecting great hope into the claim that he'll make Star Wars work again. What really works, more than anything in the film, is its attention to detail with the characters. These are all treasured icons, and yet Abrams is somehow able to craft new emotional depth and collide new elements together to bring to light what makes Star Trek such a great avenue for exploring characters and relationships. I've never understood the 'bland' and 'unoriginal' critique of Abrams' work. The emotional pulp realism of Cloverfield, the ode to nostalgia in Super 8 and now the crucible of characters with Star Trek show an absolute commitment to humanity, feeling and history. Into Darkness delivers moments in which both Trekkies and everyone else will absolutely delight in equally; it is a simultaneous faithful and fresh vision, one that could be used in a quantum physics textbook as an analogy. That marriage of past and present is possibly the greatest  achievement of Abrams' career thus far. The film doesn't play fast and loose with its roots in any way, besides some small odd referencing that just seems to exist for referencing sake. The fresh up-scaling of the Enterprise is still incredibly faithful, the make-up and costumes carry that same intricate attention that the original series embodied, and it's, as a whole, a trip into what makes Star Trek wonderful. The action set-pieces are all engaging, though a few of these pieces may be a little bit flabby. The film's pace still keeps on that Warp throttle to create a deliciously dizzy sense of involving inertia that never lets your attention fade. Characters rip flaws in each other and shout out revelations over loud explosions and crackling phaser stun-ning shootouts. This is really a film that manages to get its exposition in both subtle and literally explosive means. Into Darkness has a fluid structure to that, just as it seems jarring or jumpy, manages to tie itself all together in succinct ways and develop itself further. Some entire sub-plots are resolved in five to seven words and Abrams manages to still make it all incredibly satisfying to the point of absolute glee. The centerpiece of this film, however, has to be its performances. Chris Pine shines as a Kirk under some impossible pressure, layering on some great showcase of his emotional flexibility and ability to fluidly move from snarky witticisms to full-on feelings. Zachary Quinto's Spock deals with existentialist drama and his entire character arc serves as the film's main thematic backdrop, allowing Quinto to show off his own brand of Spock that makes every single blink from him just make you believe he was born for the role. The way that Abrams manages to neatly insert a special piece of Star Trek history inside of Spock's character arc, to show off Quinto's juicy acting chops, is a testament to the true intelligence that rides inside the film. Benedict Cumberbatch's John Harrison is an incredible shock to the Star Trek system, creating a presence of absolute terror and awe in every scene he is in. If you're a fan of Sherlock you'll be surprised to see just how physical of an actor he can be, and just how scared you'll be to see his cheekbones appear. Zoe Saldana as Uhura is given some time to show off her absolute badassery, while newcomer Alice Eve stutters ever so slightly to find her place on board. Praise also has to be showered on Simon Pegg's Scotty who manages to keep the film in its most outlandish moments still grounded in heartfelt and bubbly territory. My only criticism is that Yelchin's Chekov and Cho's Sulu are relegated to 'sitting around' duty while the entire film takes place. It really feels focused on a handful of the crew members rather than feeling like an entire team's journey into the unknown. Into Darkness is a practically perfect Summer blockbuster. It's not exactly clever in its plot activity and some of its Trekkie references just sit around as mere tidbit mentions rather than actually meaning anything. Still, however, this is an absolutely Cumbersbash of a film. It's a rocket-propelled, stunning symphony of cracking action pieces, character crashes and moments of absolute jaw-dropping delight that just crackles with what a Summer blockbuster should be. Abrams delivers an entirely fresh leap out of the new Star Trek broth, managing to keep it exciting and buzzing with thrills galore. This is, so far, the best film of Summer and, aside from a few niggles from MIA characters, plot holes and pacing that is sometimes unforgiving, it's an otherwise incredible journey into the heart of Star Trek. Abrams, with these films, shows how he is the absolute auteur of blending the old-fashioned with the new-fashioned and shows off exactly what a treat we have in store for us when we get his offering of Star Wars fantasy.
Star Trek II Review photo
Set phasers to Cumberbatch
I thoroughly enjoyed the first Abrams Star Trek with all of its timeline meshing, cute references and lens flares. Into Darkness has been on my radar for a good while, and with Abrams now in the chair for Star ...

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David Goyer helming new Count of Monte Cristo adaptation


Mar 19
// Hubert Vigilla
Eventually I'll get to reading Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. Eventually. In fact, I'm looking at my good, cheap 880-page Wordsworth Classics copy of it right now and I'm thinking, "Yup, I'd love to read this......
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New Robin Hood movie called Merry Men in development


Mar 04
// Hubert Vigilla
Robin Hood has been a staple of big screen adventure ever since the days of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn. The most recent high-profile Robin Hood movie was the 2010 Ridley Scott film starring Russell Crowe, which most pe...
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The Hobbit: There and Back Again delayed to December 2014


Peter Jackson's trilogy capper moves from summer to winter
Mar 01
// Hubert Vigilla
When The Hobbit went from a pair of movies to a trilogy, the original plan was to release The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on December 12, 2012, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on December 13, 2013, and The Hobbit: There...
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UPDATE: Super Bowl TV spot for Star Trek Into Darkness


Tickets for early screenings on sale if you download the Star Trek App
Feb 05
// Hubert Vigilla
[UPDATE: In addition to getting tix to early screenings of Star Trek Into Darkness, downloading the Star Trek App will also give users an exclusive look at an extended cut of this Super Bowl spot. A little more information a...
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Super Bowl TV spot for The Lone Ranger


It could be worse, kemo sabe
Feb 04
// Hubert Vigilla
Now if memory serves, this TV spot for The Lone Ranger marked the transition from normal commercials to Super Bowl commercials. It was a long spot, essentially a trailer for people watching on TV, and you know what? It doesn...

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